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Albany County Announces COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Partnership

Officials announce new mobile vaccination initiative
Albany County Executive Dan McCoy and Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan announce new mobile vaccination initiative.

Albany County, the city of Albany, and Mohawk Ambulance are partnering to distribute the coronavirus vaccine to seniors.

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy was joined Sunday at the Times Union Center by Mohawk Ambulance Service Director of Operations Jovan Cruz and Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan to announce a new mobile vaccination vehicle to bring COVID-19 vaccines to residents’ doorsteps in the coming weeks. McCoy says Mohawk Ambulance will have the capacity to distribute 300,000 doses to residents at home.

"The people that fall into category 1B can sign up to get a time to get the vaccine. But, this means we get vaccines into the arms of our seniors and first responders. One of our main priorities of this phase of joining the governor and you know, our governor here and the eight other governors, is to call on the federal government to get more vaccines."

Cruz says Mohawk Ambulance Service has also purchased medical grade freezers and additional temporary storage and transportation equipment that will allow for the storing of more than 110,000 Pfizer doses and 220,000 Moderna doses, as well as establishing pop-up vaccination sites throughout the Capital Region.

"We believe we've covered all of our bases, so no matter what comes our direction, we're ready to handle it. It's always been a goal of Mohawk Ambulance to bring the highest level of patient care to their doorstep inside of their home. And this is just another way of doing that. The pandemic has kept everyone inside of their homes. Healthcare has changed. We are now doing a lot more inside the patient's home, trying to keep them there, instead of transporting everyone over to the emergency department. Again, this is just another way that we're doing that. We're now going to start bringing the vaccine to the patient's home, keep them safe and continue to carry out that mission."

On Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the channels of vaccine distribution would expand from hospitals to a larger network that will allow an expansion of who can get the vaccine. Capital Region Democratic state Assemblyman John McDonald, who owns a pharmacy in Cohoes, says area pharmacies have just begun to order Moderna's vaccine for distribution to customers.

"I would expect to see limited amounts starting to come into pharmacies over the next week or so. And I think you're going to see most community pharmacies, focus on the ambulatory 75-year-old patient and above. Those are the patients that will still go to the pharmacy in this day and age. So I do think you're going to start to see an increase in that.” Sheehan says the pandemic has disproportionately impacted Albany residents who need the vaccine most.

"And so as we saw that a safe and effective vaccine was going to become available, the conversation around how we were going to ensure that those same vulnerable populations that needed access to testing, were going to have access to the vaccine. And the only way that we can do this is if we do it together. And when we look at the opportunity, you know, the governor wants us to quickly get these vaccines in the arms of people. Well there is a tremendous opportunity in our senior populations to be able to do that effectively. If a senior a 75-year-old, is living in South Mall towers, they should not have to separately go to different places and find different places to get the vaccine. We can come to them."

McCoy says residents who are included in the 1b category of vaccine distribution should use the State Department of Health website or call 1-833-697-4829 to check their eligibility and register to receive the vaccine.

Below is the schedule for Albany County’s COVID-19 mobile testing sites this week, a collaboration with the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Health Center. Testing is for those experiencing symptoms, essential workers and those returning to work by appointment only, after being screened over the phone. To be screened, please call (518) 465-4771.

Locations & Dates for the Week of January 11

The full updated schedule, along with other testing site options, can be found at the Albany County website here.

Monday, January 11: 9AM - 1PM

Times Union Center, 51 South Pearl St, Albany, NY 12207

(All vehicles must access the TU Center parking garage along Market Street. Enter at Level 3 through the Market Street entrance booths)

Wednesday, January 13: 9AM - 1PM

Whitney Young Administrative Building, 1601 Broadway Watervliet, NY 12189

(Drive-up testing site. Large brick building across the parking lot from the Watervliet Whitney Young Health Center, across the street from McDonald's)

Friday, January 15: 9AM - 1PM

Times Union Center, 51 South Pearl St, Albany, NY 12207

(All vehicles must access the TU Center parking garage along Market Street. Enter at Level 3 through the Market Street entrance booths)

Community-wide testing continues on the University at Albany (SUNY) campus by appointment only for those with or without symptoms. Appointments may be made by calling the NYS hotline at 888-364-3065 or by visiting the State Department of Health website.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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